Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 26 - No Thermal Baths (sigh), but a Good Day Nonetheless

Hey Team,

Like I said in the last post, weather was really bad on Day 2 so I had some ground to make up on my final day in town.  While it was still quite cold, I caught a break with the rain, so I got a full day in of sightseeing.  Here's the shots.

This is the Budapest Great Synagogue.  I had never been inside of one before and I picked a good one to go in.  This is the 2nd largest in the world next to the one in NYC.

This is the Hungarian Parliament Building on the Pest side.  In keeping with the theme from the last picture, this is the 2nd largest one in all of Europe next to Parliament in London.  This was really the only disappointment of the day, as I couldn't get inside.  691 rooms and they don't have room for me.  I don't get it.  Don't these people know who I am?

This is a national memorial for the 1956 Uprising I talked about yesterday.  If you look closely, you'll notice a big hole in the middle of the flag.  Under communist rule, an emblem was placed in the middle of the old Hungarian flag.  One of the protesters, during the uprising, hastily cut it out.  This symbolizes that here.  The one constant I've found in all of the former Eastern Block countries is their intense loathing of everything involved with Communism.  Young and old, they all get this really sharp glint in the eye when it gets brought up.  I'm not sure if they just dislike the movement or Russians, but if I was one, I'd think real hard before coming for a visit. . . or practice my Australian accent.  Seriously, I've met more Australians than all the other countries combined.  They are a ton of fun by the way.  Haven't met one yet who wasn't immediately ready to treat you like your best friend.

Here's the front of St. Istvan's Church.  Like everything else of note in this town, it was built for the 1896 Millennium Celebration. I was excited to see it for no other reason than it was not a Gothic design.

Here's the inside shot.  More modern looking with domes and marble and everything.  If I see another gargoyle or flying buttress, I'm going to go have to temporarily become a Protestant I think.

So it's not easy to see, but this is the Holy Right Hand of St. Istvan. Yes, you too can come to Budapest and go check out the 1000 year old appendage for the low low price of $2.  And if you tip the nice old man who pushes the button to light up the box here, he'll go through a 30 second spiel telling you this is the Holy Right Hand of St. Istvan.

Apparently in an effort to make some extra cash, the church had to choose between this or renaming the church St. Macy's at the In And Out Burger Basilica presented by Citi.  Good call I think.

The cafe scene in Budapest is similar to Vienna.  I went to this famous cafe called Gerbaud's.  As you can see, I've been following a very strict diet on my travels.

Here's a detail shot of the Chain Bridge.  The Scarecrow still refuses to visit the city in protest for being passed over for this spot here.

I crossed the Bridge and went over to the Buda side of town.  This is a shot across the water of the Parliament Building.  As you can see, this is no joke of a building.  As you can see, Pest is flat as a pancake.  Buda on the other hand. . .

. . .is quite hilly.  Here's a look at the Buda Hills.  Interesting fact of the day.  The English word "booty" comes from the Hungarian word "Buda" which means "large and volumptuous".

I know what you're thinking.  "Kenny, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.  There's no way anyone is going to buy that . . no way.  These posts used to be ok, but now you're reaching. . . . . But it would be just like him to put that in and it actually be true.  No, no way.  But maybe. . . Crap, now I have to go look it up ($%!@? Jerk)".

This is St. Matthias which is a Gothic Church, but it's a different kind.  For one it's not absurdly huge, and secondly, the outside displays some Asian influences. Unfortunately, like most of Europe it's seemed, there's a lot of restoring going on.  Takes quite a bit away from the shot, but you can see the entrance on the left.  Very pretty.

These tower looking things may be younger than me, but I thought they looked cool so they made the blog.  This is right outside of the church.

So no post about Budapest would be complete without a shot of my new friends from favorite hostel so far, the Budapest Bubble.  You're looking at a regular international convention here with no less than 5 or 6 countries represented (and a ton of Australians of course).  This group was the first time I felt like I was hanging out with people I'd known for more than 2 or 3 days.  Very family type atmosphere and we had a great time together.

This shot was at what is called a "Ruin Pub", which are a few buildings thoughout Pest that were left to rot by the Communist regime.  After they left, some folks picked them up and turned them into these really cool bars.  These places are huge, like a whole building.  The best way to describe this one is to compare it to the best frat house you've ever been in.  Room after room of couches and chairs and good music and stuff like that.  Really good time.

All the best to all of yall and safe travels going forward.  I'll be in touch.

Tomorrow is a scheduled day of rest for me.  I haven't really had one in a good three weeks, so I'm going to catch a train to Vienna tomorrow and then do nothing else afterwards.  Next post will be for the next 2 days then.  Later. . .